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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk
Thread started 02 Nov 2015 (Monday) 13:36
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New Diffuser Design

 
Dalantech
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Dalantech. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 02, 2015 13:36 |  #1

Here's the video (external link) I shot of my new diffuser design. I might experiment with some of the materials in the middle, and they're designed to come apart so that I can make changes. I'm getting good specular highlights from 1x to 5x with the MP-E 65mm, and shooting with the EF-S 60mm + extension tubes is even easier (short working distance, so the diffusers are close to the subject). I'll have a .6x example to add to this post soon, but here is what the light is looking like at 5x. Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (5x) + a diffused MT-24EX (both flash heads mounted to the Canon flash mount, 0 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/617/22721364551_359c334d04_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/ABNW​5F] (external link)Stomorhina Lunata at 5x (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

Getting the diffusers to point at the subject at 5x is tricky -easier to over shoot the subject. But with these diffusers I can point the flash heads all the way down.

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Dalantech
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Nov 03, 2015 10:53 |  #2

Here's a .6x example:

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5697/22725352646_37c11d151c_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/ACan​AW] (external link)Hoverfly on Yellow Flower (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

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CanopicJar
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Nov 03, 2015 11:33 |  #3

Pretty darned impressive. Can you post some links to your diffusion materials?


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Dalantech
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Nov 03, 2015 13:38 |  #4

CanopicJar wrote in post #17770853 (external link)
Pretty darned impressive. Can you post some links to your diffusion materials?

Sure Travis, but it's not cheap :(

Garry Fong Puffer Plus (external link) x 2.

Sto-Fen Diffuser (external link) -there are cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

Opal Frost Diffuser (external link). I like this material because it's semi-rigid and can be cut with a pair of heavy scissors (like the kind that Stanley makes). It's a 1 foot by 1 foot square.

1/4 stop white China silk (external link). Not necessary, but I like what it does to the light. Normally used as a GoBo, but since it's white it acts as a diffuser (a black silk would just block the light).

I don't have convenient links to the Lego pieces, and I built a form out of Legos to keep everything aligned while I hot glued it together.


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Nelvick
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Nov 03, 2015 18:18 |  #5

Wow. Really pretty pictures !! Nice Job !!




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Dalantech
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Nov 04, 2015 03:09 |  #6

Nelvick wrote in post #17771283 (external link)
Wow. Really pretty pictures !! Nice Job !!

Thanks :)

Still tweaking the light, but so far I like it.


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Archibald
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Nov 04, 2015 17:44 |  #7

Great ideas here. Thanks, John. I am going to build new diffusers too for my twin lights, and it is neat to see your examples.

I am more and more realizing that we need different diffusers for different subjects and also for different magnifications. My next one will be for 2x and higher.


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CanopicJar
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Nov 04, 2015 19:21 as a reply to Dalantech's post |  #8

Awesome. Thanks John :)


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chauncey
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Nov 05, 2015 07:31 |  #9

It would appear that your technique works really well on insects...might the lighting prove too flat for floral work?


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Nov 05, 2015 13:30 |  #10

Archibald wrote in post #17772502 (external link)
...I am more and more realizing that we need different diffusers for different subjects and also for different magnifications...

I use to think the same thing, but I'm getting good light across all the ranges that I want to shoot at.


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Nov 05, 2015 13:31 |  #11

CanopicJar wrote in post #17772607 (external link)
Awesome. Thanks John :)

Anytime Travis :)


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Nov 05, 2015 13:34 |  #12

chauncey wrote in post #17773074 (external link)
It would appear that your technique works really well on insects...might the lighting prove too flat for floral work?

I use the flash heads in a "Key and Fill" arrangement specifically to keep the light from looking flat. Hitting anything with well diffused light won't make it seem flat -but the direction that the light strikes the subject will...

Edit: Forgot to add that you can pick up a lot of texture detail in flower petals when the light is very diffused -and blow out a lot of detail when the light isn't...


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Nov 05, 2015 13:46 |  #13

Another tricky subject / scene -that flower acts like a yellow bounce card. Should have brought the temperature down a little in the first image. These should give you a pretty good idea about the light quality -really easy to blow the detail out of the eyes.

Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F16, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (3x) + a diffused MT-24EX (both flash heads mounted to the Canon flash mount, 0 FEC). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/769/22634039165_a231b163ef_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Au6n​hz] (external link)Preflight Maintenance (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5807/22781796806_8f9b881be2_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/AH9E​u7] (external link)Preflight Maintenance II (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

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Nov 10, 2015 02:28 |  #14

chauncey wrote in post #17773074 (external link)
It would appear that your technique works really well on insects...might the lighting prove too flat for floral work?

Not a photo of just a flower, but I think you'll see by the detail in the petals that the light doesn't look flat even though I'm shooting from a low angle.

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/690/22454415747_c9b2c726e0_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/AddK​v6] (external link)Drone Hoverfly (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

Some other examples, shot with a beta version of the diffuser I'm using now.

IMAGE: https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8758/17975402108_6fc8f0cf41_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/toqC​N1] (external link)Wool Carder Bee Series 1-5 (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

Here is a top down shot, although the key and the fill were on Kaiser adjustable flash shoes and were firing perpendicular to the top of the flower.

IMAGE: https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7746/17161144569_1c0feaba70_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/s9tm​oV] (external link)Collecting Pollen (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

Changing the angle of the light has a really big impact on how much detail is captured, and the way that the depth is perceived, especially when shooting flower petals. I actually think that flower photography (no insect in the frame) is really tough to get right, harder than insect composition in a lot of ways.

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Nov 14, 2015 03:02 |  #15

CanopicJar wrote in post #17770853 (external link)
Can you post some links to your diffusion materials?

I mentioned this in the video, but forgot about it when you asked me for the materials list -doh (I'm 50, so I have an excuse ;) ).

Hot glued directly to the MT-24EX flash heads is a wide angle diffuser. The problem with diffusing any flash in a short distance is getting the light to spread out as rapidly as possible. Think of the light leaving the flash like water from a fire hose -given enough distance it will spread out, but right up against the nozzle it's pretty much coming straight out. I've tried a lot of different materials for that first stage, from yogurt bottle plastic to a piece of heavy diffusion that Nikon makes. But all of them either added an odd color cast to the light, or made the light too warm. I like warm light, like it better than pushing the saturation in post, but most digital sensors are very sensitive to red light, and if the light is too warm it's easy to blow out the red channel.

While trying to figure out how to diffuse a standard flash in a small distance I realized that the easiest way to get the light to spread out was to simply use the wide angle diffusion panel built into most flashes. It's designed to force the light to spread out while being directly against the flash heads, and it won't add an odd color cast or make the light too warm. So I ordered a replacement wide angle diffuser for one of the Canon flashes (I think it was the 530EX -don't remember, see the part about me being old ;) ), cut it in half, and hot glued it directly to the flash heads and it worked. Here's a shot of a Lilly Beetle, a critter that I had almost given up on shooting because they are so reflective, taken with the beta diffuser that I was using at the time. Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F16, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MP-E 65mm macro lens (2x) + a diffused MT-24EX (flash head "A" set as the key and "B" as the fill). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/597/21326372209_96ddaef04b_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/yuxe​sz] (external link)Scarlet Lilly Beetle Series 1-1 (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

For my current diffusion I'm using a wide angle diffuser replacement part for a Canon 600 RT. Although I'm still experimenting with the materials between the Sto-Fens and the Puffer Plus diffusers I like the light I'm currently getting. With insects like this bumblebee it's easy to lose the compound eyes in the strongest part of the specular area, and it's easy to blow out so much detail that the overall shape of the eye looks flat. Tech Specs: Canon 70D (F11, 1/125, ISO 200) + a Canon EF-S 60mm macro lens with 25mm of extension (1.7x) + a diffused MT-24EX (flash head "A" set as the key and "B" as the fill, both on the Canon flash mount). This is a single, uncropped, frame taken hand held.

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5690/22935284892_fc6993dcc4_c.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/AWHk​9q] (external link)Finger Fed Bumblebee II (external link) by John Kimbler (external link), on Flickr

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